Solar Eclipse!

My parents and I travelled up to Erie, Pennsylvania this weekend to see today’s total solar eclipse. (We missed the 2017 one.) It was awesome! It was a very cloudy day, but fortunately the clouds thinned out enough that when the eclipse reached totality, we could see the “diamond ring” in its full glory. Very interesting to see the faint shades of color around the edges of the moon. The rapidity with which the whole sky becomes dark and light again before and after totality was also awesome to see. I generally hate traveling, but this was worth the trip.

(It was also nice that our hotel gave us a free upgrade from a normal dinky little hotel room to a double bedroom; more spacious, and I got my own room!)

I didn’t spend much time trying to get a good picture as I preferred to just focus on the experience. But here’s the partial before totality, taken through the filter of the eclipse glasses:

And then here’s a terrible picture of the total eclipse as shot through my phone with default settings, blurry and crappy:

There’s really not much else to do around here in Erie, PA. We went to see the shore of the great lake yesterday, and tonight I want to try seeing the new Godzilla x Kong movie at a nearby theater in 3D with D-BOX haptic movement seats, which I’ve never tried; we don’t have any back home.

1 Second Everyday : January 2023

Hey! Long time, no blog!

I tried doing “1 Second Everyday” back in 2020, but was only able to keep it up for four months. Let’s see how long I’ll be able to keep it going this year.

January was mostly boring and uneventful. Highlights perhaps include finishing reading the Russian classic The Karamazov Brothers (a more appropriate translation of the title than the usual reverse), which I thought was great and hope to post some thoughts on it at some point.

Definitely lots I hope to do this year, but a big problem I’ve been having lately is my bad posture while sitting at the computer. I can barely sit for an hour before I get a terrible sharp pain in the back of my neck. I guess I am hunching over too much. I need to somehow get my monitor higher or something.

1 – a new year begins
2 – gym because I ate too many Christmas cookies
3 – dinner for the cats
4 – some hot chocolate at Starbucks
5 – studying some probability
6 – awesome find at Goodwill
7 – cats eating again
8 – watching Krull (it’s boring)
9 – crab is climbing the glass?!
10 – plink plonk!
11 – getting toasty on the vent
12 – watching a scary movie, aahh!
13 – more cats eating
14 – love this music video for Twilight Force’s Sunlight Knight
15 – reading some Karl Popper
16 – ball track + tissue paper = fun!
17 – reading a classic novel
18 – Xandria music video
19 – found at Goodwill
20 – cats in a cabinet
21 – GPT-3 on 1SE
22 – playing with Midjourney
23 – found at Goodwill
24 – new Twilight Force album!
25 – finished reading this!
26 – watching some Vue talks
27 – started reading this
28 – long Kurosawa documentary
29 – new Xandria album!
30 – cat sitting on the bannister
31 – turtle just chillin’

My grandmother passed away

Sadly, my last surviving grandparent died on Monday. She had been suffering with dementia.

Her brother, my Great-uncle Charles, also passed away the same day, only 20-some minutes before, also from complications of dementia. His death actually made the New York Times in an article1 that also mentions my grandmother:

A sister, Marianne Donovan, also died on Monday.

So my grandmother made the New York Times!

I only saw Charles now and then at family events, but I do remember him encouraging me to continue writing when I was a child prodigy… or a child interested in writing stories at least.

My grandmother was very fond of Charles, so I can easily imagine them reunited, with their minds made whole again, entering the eternal kingdom together. Requiescat in pace.

Ow! I broke my finger…

Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving! The holiday fell on my birthday this year, so happy birthday to myself!

I also broke the ring finger on my left hand.

Last night, while unfolding a stepladder, I somehow managed to smash a finger tip between one the steps and the metal bar it snaps onto underneath. It actually latched on completely, so the stepladder was fully open, with my finger wedged inside. It hurt. It was even more painful when I managed to unlatch it and pull my finger out. It was a bit misshapen and the bottom of the fingernail actually popped out of the skin. It looked disgusting. (It still does, but I put a band-aid over that part so I don’t have to see it anymore.) I actually almost fainted, got all sweaty and weak.

So we went to the ER and they took an x-ray and confirmed a small fracture. Also got an extensor tendon disruption, so I can’t straighten out the end of the finger, so I’ve got a minor case of “mallet finger”. Hopefully the tendon is not completely torn and it will heal with no need for surgery. (Fingers crossed, but not that one.)

I’ve got a splint on the finger now. The pain has subsided with some pain meds, but still hasn’t gone away. I have to hold the hand up a bit, otherwise the finger throbs with pain. Fortunately I’m right-handed, so the loss of dexterity is not too extreme. I can also still use the index finger and thumb of my left hand, I just can’t bend the middle finger or pinky very much with the ring finger in a splint.

The doctor said not to do any work whatsoever for at least a year. I can only stay in bed and watch movies. Really wish I could do some work, but… *sigh*… oh well!

1 Second Everyday : April 2020 & App update 4

1 Second Everyday

Here’s my 1 Second Everyday for last month. Lockdown made for another boring month with mostly programming and cats (though I guess most my months are pretty boring anyway). But I did buy a used 3D projector from eBay which is great. It’s too bad 3D blu-rays (and 3D movies in general) are quickly becoming a thing of the past just as used 3D projectors become actually affordable. Oh well.

Quick note-taking app update 4

I’m just about done the functional programming for the initial release of my note-taking app:

  • Complete functionality of the sub-menu
  • Allow attaching or inserting media (at least images) to notes
  • Sort / search notes by tags
  • Create note with tags pre-filled (like adding a post to a category)
  • Allow some js widgets in notes, at least checkboxes and timers
  • Allow creation of new notes with bracket links (e.g. “[[]]”) as in MediaWiki (standard wiki feature)
  • Open related notes by clicking on these bracket links (without opening a new page)
  • Search and sort notes by content / data / date (only basic queries for now)
  • Create user login / registration system
  • Create user stats page (notes created, storage space available, etc.)
  • Collect user usage stats (for studying how users use the product)
  • Overhaul / finalize designs, make responsive and usable on mobile
  • Write Terms of Service, privacy, cookie use policies
  • Offer subscriptions, launch!

I mostly just have to work on the design and then the final launch preparations! There are plenty of features I’d like to add after launching, of course, but development will probably slow so I can get back to work on TuneSage. Building this note-taking app has been a great experience for learning how to develop a web app using Vue and MongoDB, which I can definitely use while continuing to build TuneSage. (Plus I hope to use this note-taking app for my own note-keeping purposes.)

1 Second Everyday : March 2020

The two highlights of the month are the coronavirus pandemic (an obvious major disruption to everything) and our adoption of a new kitten called Emma. So plenty of kitten footage this month.

1 – Playing with math
2 – Scout through the looking glass
3 – Voted on Super Tuesday
4 – Our sad empty local mall (pre-pandemic)
5 – Delicious fried calamari (and unknowingly one of our last out-to-eats for a while)
6 – Bought this book on Amazon
7 – This is delicious!
8 – Another new Nightwish track!
9 – Saw the new Pixar film at the theater (just in time before theaters close for the pandemic)
10 – Watching Netflix
11 – Creepy possum on our fence
12 – The frogs are out
13 – Stocking up on groceries amid coronavirus concerns
14 – Sadie playing a toy
15 – Virus news aaahhh
16 – Sadie in a window
17 – Dinner for the turtle
18 – Mall still open, but many stores are closed (I only go there for the post office)
19 – Watched the Mr Rogers movie
20 – Reading
21 – New kitten Emma meets the other cats
22 – Tiny kitten Emma
23 – Bought some new 3D blu-rays on sale
24 – Sleeping kitty
25 – Playing kitty
26 – Jumping kitty
27 – Duck eggs in our bushes… never had those before
28 – Yawning kitty
29 – Costco trip
30 – Playing with paper
31 – Obayashi’s film “House”… very weird movie

1 Second Everyday : February 2020

February flew by quickly. It was pretty unexciting; mostly continued programming and eBay selling, which I’ll continue this month.

1 – Playing with Sadie
2 – Super Bowl Sunday!
3 – Reading a Jungian book1
4 – At an antique shop
5 – Programming
6 – Sadie playing with a shoe
7 – Stormy weather
8 – Cat sitting on my back
9 – Watching Locke and Key on Netflix
10 – Listening to some classical music (can you guess the symphony?)
11 – Need some stuff at Walmart
12 – Doing some web app development
13 – Found at a used bookstore
14 – Sadie knocks over a bin of ornaments
15 – Programming
16 – Learning about Vuetify
17 – Really enjoying this show
18 – Sadie plays with a new toy
19 – Enjoying the new Nightwish track
20 – Doing some web dev with Vue ui
21 – Found at a used bookstore
22 – Still reading “Farlander”
23 – Sadie playing
24 – More web dev
25 – Sadie staring at me
26 – Watching NiNo Kuni on Netlfix
27 – New PS4 game!
28 – Cleaning my laptop with goop
29 – Testing out a RokBlok

1 Second Everyday : January 2020

“1 Second Everyday” is a phone app for which you log a second of video everyday for a year (or a month) and then create a montage (or a “mashup”) of those 1 second clips. The creator talks about the concept in this TED talk years ago:

I’ve been trying to do this for several years, but I always end up missing a day or two or just losing interest after a month or two. So this year I’m going to upload my “mashups” for each month as they pass as an attempt to encourage myself to continue through the year. Here’s my mashup for January 2020:

You can see that usually I forget about the app until the evening when I’m playing with the cat. And even when I’m not, my days are usually rather a bit mundane. But such is my life. Here are the captions for each day:

1 – Happy New Year!
2 – Programming… although not being productive here
3 – Scout watching paper printing
4 – Sisters leave
5 – Sadie loves the guest bed
6 – Playing with Sadie
7 – Snowing!
8 – Our 20 year old cat very sick before dying 🙁
9 – Went to see Star Wars 9
10 – Standing by the fire with a headache
11 – Reading a novel called “Farlander”
12 – More programming
13 – Getting stuff that sold from the eBay shelves
14 – Freelance work
15 – Catching up on GOT
16 – Playing around with a CD burner from Goodwill
17 – Coding on the guest room bed
18 – Enjoying some Mozart of smalin
19 – Programming (TuneSage, coming soon!)
20 – More programming
21 – Final GOT episode! (what a nonsense last season!)
22 – More programming
23 – Cat in a box
24 – Buying some cereal at Walmart
25 – More freelance work
26 – RIP Kobe Bryant and others 🙁
27 – Sadie wants to play, but I have work to do
28 – Feeding the turtle (named Covfefe)
29 – Watching the movie “Millennium Actress”, great movie
30 – Sadie eating grass, yum
31 – A visit to the used bookstore

RIP to our cat…

Our 20 year old cat passed away on my lap at 1:47 AM today, January 8, 2020. She’d been in declining health for a while, but went down hill very quickly at the end; she had a vet appointment later this week and seemed like she’d last at least until then. But she suddenly lost the strength to even stand up and was gone hours later. RIP Nellie, 1999-2020.

Goals for 2019

Well, they’re not really for 2019 specifically; they’re goals I had last year too. But since it’s the first day of a new year, seems a good time to remind oneself of one’s goals:

So I’ve got two main goals (aside from the constant goal of “be more productive and don’t waste too much time web browsing”):

  1. Continue preparing to start a business. This is the computer-assisted music composing software I’ve been working on for years now, and there is of course still much work to be done. This will be my main focus, as it certainly seems the most promising and the most rewarding.
  2. Write some fiction. I plotted quite a few stories in 2018, but I need to get back to actually writing some fiction. I’m thinking about posting some work on Royal Road, a story-sharing site. The goal, other than actually writing the fiction, is write regularly enough to build an audience, which may be easier on a site like Royal Road. There is so much competition on Amazon nowadays, and readers seem less likely to pay for an author whom they’ve never heard of before. Plus, if even a small number of people are reading my work as I’m working on it, it feels like it would encourage me to continue writing. A lot of famous writers were able work like that, publishing stories in pieces (like Charles Dickens), and then the practice sort of disappeared with the advent of television. The Internet has slowly been working to bring it back, but of course the competition is fiercer than ever.

So those are my two goals. They both require enough work that any other goal would be folly indeed.

Oh, one last goal is to write some more music and put out another album. But that won’t require nearly as much work as the two goals above, since the next album is 80% done already.

Also, I still need to post my yearly montage of all the films I watched last year, along with my “Year’s Best” for 2018 (and for 2017, which I never did). In the meantime, I updated my film log on MCL.